Celibacy in the Ancient World: Its Ideal and Practice in Pre-Hellenistic Israel, Mesopotamia, and Greece

Celibacy in the Ancient World: Its Ideal and Practice in Pre-Hellenistic Israel, Mesopotamia, and Greece


By (author) Dale F. Launderville

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  • Publisher: Michael Glazier Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 616 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 46mm | 748g
  • Publication date: 12 October 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Wilmington, Delaware
  • ISBN 10: 0814656978
  • ISBN 13: 9780814656976
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,065,900

Product description

Celibacy is a commitment to remain unmarried and to renounce sexual relations, for a limited period or for a lifetime. Such a commitment places an individual outside human society in its usual form, and thus questions arise: What significance does such an individual, and such a choice, have for the human family and community as a whole? Is celibacy possible? Is there a socially constructive role for celibacy?These questions guide Dale Launderville, OSB, in his study of celibacy in the ancient cultures of Israel, Mesopotamia, and Greece prior to Hellenism and the rise of Christianity. Launderville focuses especially on literary witnesses, because those enduring texts have helped to shape modern attitudes and can aid us in understanding the factors that may call forth the practice of celibacy in our own time. Readers will discover how celibacy fits within a context of relationships, and what kinds of relationships thus support a healthy and varied society, one aware of and oriented to its cosmic destiny."Dale Launderville, OSB, is professor of theology at Saint John's University School of Theology 'eminary, Collegeville, Minnesota. He is the author of "Piety and Politics: The Dynamics of Royal Authority in Homeric Greece, Biblical Israel, and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia "(Eerdmans, 2003) and "Spirit and Reason: The Embodied Character of Ezekiel's Symbolic Thinking "(Baylor University Press, 2007)."

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Review quote

This volume provides a masterful treatment of celibacy in the ancient world. Dale Launderville discusses the topic in relationship to inner-household relationships, intermarriage, virginity and chastity, relationships with the divine, and transcending death's limitations. Skillfully utilizing vastly diverse material from ancient Israel, Mesopotamia, and Greece, he illuminates how celibacy was understood within each society while also illustrating how the parallels mutually inform our understanding of celibacy in the ancient world. John L. McLaughlin, Associate Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, Director of Advanced Degree Programs, Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, Ontario